Issue 15, Volume 88

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Est. 1934 Issue 15, Volume 88 @thedailycougar STRESSED OUT? You’re not alone. Here’s how to cope with the academic pressure as finals season rolls in. | PG. 2

Ways to unwind during stressful finals season

With finals season approaching for students, stress can also follow and affect many aspects of our daily lives. Focusing on self-care and finding ways to unwind can help calm those pressures.

Physical and emotional tensions often accompany the feeling of stress and can vary depending on the challenge you’re faced with. According to the Assistant Director of UH Wellness, Brittani Clarkson, stress can be positive or negative and can also be chronic or last for a short period.

“At this point in the semester, students often place high expectations on themselves to do well so they become stressed and anxious trying to get everything finished in time,” Clarkson said. “While I can’t speak directly to any trends here at UH, there is data from the National College Health Assessment that says college students experience higher levels of stress and anxiety now than they did prior to the COVID-19 onset.”

It’s important to prioritize personal care before, during and after finals season as stress can impact our relationships and the quality of work we produce, Clarson shared.

She added that taking time to relax in healthy ways improves how deadlines and workloads are handled, so they overcome you less.

There are many ways to wind down while faced with the anxieties that finals can bring along. Finding an activity that fits your needs is essential.

“Some simple and easy ways to reduce stress include taking a walk across campus on a sunny day, listening to upbeat music, stretching/meditating/

yoga, taking a quick nap, making a to-do list and crossing things off as you finish them,” Clarkson said. “Taking time to eat a balanced meal that includes fruit, vegetables, and proteins, and attending social events on campus. If these types of activities don’t help, we advise students to reach out to a mental health professional like the clinicians at CAPS.”

Students also shared the ways they plan on winding down this semester and having a stress-free finals season.

Marketing senior Bethany Rodriguez shared that going outside more with her dog is a way to help her relax during stressful times.

“Either that being going to a park or taking a walk in my neighborhood to get some fresh air,” Rodriguez said. “It truly helps me relax and forget everything else that I have going on, especially during finals.”

Some students practice a routine to deal with stress while still trying to balance school and their personal lives.

“To cope with stress I unwind to practice meditation before bed or stretching,” said finance and marketing

junior Sophie Doyle. “I also make sure I get a healthy balance between studying and or work and personal time. Whether that’s carving out some free time in the morning or before bed, or getting a workout in.”

UH Wellness and the Residence Hall Association will host its “Unwind with Wellness Wednesday: Destination Relaxation” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26. This event is held at the end of every semester to assist students who are experiencing stress. It will feature therapy dogs, DIY, massage therapy, music, food and resource tables Clarkson said.

UH Wellness is available to assist students experiencing stress all year through their “Wellness Consultation” service, relaxation station events and weekly Unwind with Wellness on Wednesday program Clarkson added.

“Taking a calming walk through a park won’t magically erase all your stress but it can help to calm your feelings of anxiety so that you have more mental and emotional space to tackle your exams.” Clarkson said.

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar
“There are plenty of healthy ways for students to relax to cope with stress this finals season. It’s all about finding something you enjoy, something that isn’t complicated and something that won’t cost too much time or money.”
Brittani Clark, UH Wellness assistant director

SGA reveals proposed election code changes


Student Government Association President Benjamin Rizk has officially unveiled his plan to change the election code in a sweeping bill simply known as the “Election Code Reform Act.”

Authored by Rizk, Senator Micheal Abel, Senator Lewis, and Senator Anahi Ortega, the Reform Act aims to “prioritize ensuring fair elections and that the voice of all students are heard.”

At seven pages, the bill is notably shorter than the 25-page Election Reform and Fairness Act passed under the 55th administration and the 30-page “Election Code Revision” bill passed under the 59th administration.

The election code was at the center of much of the controversy surrounding the 2023 SGA Elections, and Rizk seems determined to fulfill his promise to reverse many of the changes made under Joshua Martin’s administration.

The Cougar took a look through the bill to determine what’s changed, how it was influenced by previous administrations, and how the act is likely to impact future elections.

Term limits restored

The Reform Act restores the term limits for presidents and vice presidents that had been previously removed in the 59th administration’s Election Code Revision bill.

Term limits were initially put in place by the 55th administration in 2018 with the goal of “creating a more even playing field” in the words of former SGA president Cameron Barrett. Barrett also noted his concerns over the inherent advantage of incumbent candidates.

Martin, who was the first incumbent candidate to run in an SGA presidential election since 2018, claimed term limits were unconstitutional, and removed nearly all restrictions for students seeking to run for office.

While it remains to be seen if the current Supreme Court will seek to strike down term limits as unconstitutional, the Reform Act restores the same term limits put in place in 2018, with some additional changes.

“Sitting presidents (and vice presidents) who have served more than half their term are not eligible to run for president,” the bill states, in Article 3, Section 2, Clause 1 and 2. Rizk’s bill adds limits for senators that were not present in the 2018 changes, specifying in Article 3, Section 2, Clause 4, that, “Sitting senators who have served more than a full term and more than half of a second term are not eligible to run for any SGA position.”

Supreme Court

Following an election marked by controversial Supreme Court decisions, the Reform Act includes significant adjustments to how the court operates.

Article 8, Section 1, Clause 1-4 of the bill covers multiple areas that have the potential to limit the Supreme Court’s ability to rule on specific areas.

Clause 1 and 2 state that the Supreme Court must interpret the election code “in

accordance with its plain text meaning,” and goes on to state that the Court “may not utilize conflicting precedent to disregard or fail to apply the plain text reading.”

This change was likely influenced by the allegations made by SGA Attorney General Tiffanie Gordon that the court, especially former Chief Justice Munoz, had misinterpreted language in the election code to overturn the election.

“This verdict was reckless, baseless, and a lie,” Gordon said in the complaint she lodged against Munoz. “I implore the next administration to ensure this does not happen again.”

Notably, Clause 3 declares that “in the case of a new election being ordered,” prior votes may not be thrown out “under any circumstances, unless explicit wrongdoing was determined by the courts and the Attorney General.”

This clause seeks to address the concern raised by some, including Gordon, former SGA Election Commissioner Tochi Okoli and Justice Tyler Garrett, that throwing out the entire election was a mistake.

Amidst the various complaints filed against Munoz, Gordon alleged that him and Martin had “side-stepped (her) and the election commissioner” by not bringing the case before the Attorney General.


Prior to his election, Rizk expressed frustration with the increased spending limits for candidates put in place during the 59th Administration.

“These changes were designed so that students are elected not based on their character or commitment, but through connections and money,” Rizk said in an interview prior to the election.

Article 6, Section 1 and 2 significantly alter rules surrounding campaign finance, including lowering spending limits to $500 for senators of a specific college, $750 for senators at large, and $1,200 for presidential candidates.

This marks a slight decrease from the limits set by the 55th administration, and

goes hand in hand with other changes, including allowing donations using apps like Zelle and Venmo.

Additionally, Article 6, Section 2, would restore the 55th administration’s requirement that candidates report their donations “at fair market value” rather than stating what they paid for it outright.

This section, which was initially established by Barrett “to make it easier for poorer students to participate,” was eliminated by the 59th administration. If restored, it would theoretically reduce candidates’ ability to use discounts afforded to them by friends or family.


Finally, the Reform Act makes several major changes to how voting works, including restoring ranked choice voting in Article 5, Section 5 and 6.

This system, which was in place since 2018, allows voters to “rank” candidates from favorite to least favorite. Positions are awarded based on who receives the majority of “first choice” votes, and the candidate with the least votes is eliminated if there is no majority in the first round.

Martin’s administration instituted first past the post voting, a system where voters only vote for a single candidate for each position. While this system was in place prior to 2018, Barrett’s administration replaced it, out of fear that one party could sweep the senate.

The Reform Act also includes various changes to the Elections Commission in Article 2, Section 1, including requiring that the election systems be tested 24 hours after a sample ballot is approved and giving the election commissioner the ability to delay voting if errors are found.

What’s next?

While the Reform Act seems to fulfill Rizk’s promise to overhaul the changes made to the Election Code under Martin’s administration, this version is only the first read.



Donna Keeya


WEB EDITOR Denise Miller


Lisa El-Amin


OPINION EDITOR Cindy Rivas Alfaro



Armando Yanez

Logan Linder Malachi Key Starns Leland

The Staff Editorial reflects the opinions of The Cougar Editorial Board (the members of which are listed above the editorial). All other opinions, commentaries and cartoons reflect only the opinion of the author. Opinions expressed in The Cougar do not necessarily reflect those of the University of Houston or the students as a whole.


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UH tennis freshman Gabriela Cortes refuses to give up

When a teammate or coach talks about freshman tennis player Gabriela Cortes, one word always comes up: fighter.

No matter the circumstances, Cortes is going to go all out, battling until the end. And this season, it has almost always ended with her as the victor.

“She’s somebody that’s going to leave it all on the court,” said head coach Helena Besovic.

Despite not entering the lineup until the fourth match of the season against Elon and playing, Cortes has earned her way to a 10-2 singles record, tied for second-most wins on the team as well as a team-best winning percentage of .833.

Cortes’ fight has especially shown itself in her closer matches. In all three games in which Cortes dropped the first set, she came back to win.

Against Rice’s Maria Budin, she scratched and clawed her way back after losing the first set early on, finding herself in a tiebreaker in the final set. With the pressure on, gritted her teeth and pulled out the win, clinching the Cougars’ first win over Rice in 20 years.

But this is simply how Cortes was raised.

“My mom and my dad always pushed me that however you play, just fight,” Cortes said. “It doesn’t matter the score or anything, just give it your all.”

Born in the United States but raised in Cochabamba, Bolivia, by her Bolivian father, Agustin, and Russian mother, she spent her days as a toddler going to tennis tournaments with her father and brother.

Her father picked up tennis when he founded Club Municipal de Tenis for the city of Cochabamba, and when

Cortes and her brother were born, tennis immediately became their life. Seemingly every waking hour was spent either playing or talking about the sport.

“I grew up in a tennis family,” Cortes said. “My dad went to tennis tournaments while I was still in diapers and I was building castles with the dirt.”

By their early teens, Cortes and her brother were waking up at 5 a.m. to practice on a wall outside their house. After school and training, they would spend the rest of the day honing their skills on a nearby racquetball court before going for a nighttime run with their mother.

Soon enough, Cortes was competing heavily in junior tournaments, improving her ranking and facing tough competition from around the


During all of her traveling and competing, her mother was there with her. Cortes credits her fighting spirit to her mom, who refused to let Cortes accept any limits placed on her.

“I have that side that I fight a lot for things because she’s like that,” Cortes said.

That spirit, and the countless hours of work guided Cortes to improve rapidly. At the age of 15, she made her first appearance in the Billie Jean King Cup regional competitions in 2019.

“It was a really good experience for me because I went with the best players from my country,” Cortes said. “Because of that (experience), when I went to the tennis court, I could see from a different perspective.”

Two years later, and after rediscovering her love of tennis with a new coach, Cortes made her way back to the Billie Jean King Cup as the number two player for Bolivia. This time, she got to play on her home soil in La Paz, in front of a massive audience.

“I was so nervous, my first ball went two courts away,” Cortes remembered. “My body was shaking so much.”

She quickly got settled however, and won her first three matches to help Bolivia comfortably move on and win its pool before ultimately coming short in a play-off against Guatemala. In a preview of things to come, Cortes won

understand each other,” said Argentine senior Azul Pedemonti, who has grown close with Cortes. “(Gabriela and I) are both South Americans, and we speak Spanish. So I think that connection is a little bit stronger. You feel closer to home, I guess.”

When it came time to play in the spring, it took time for Cortes get comfortable. She put immense pressure on herself to show Besovic that she belonged, and found herself playing nervously.

“It was tough,” Cortes said. “I wanted to show coach that I could play and be a part of the lineup.”

However, after one of her early matches, she received encouragement through a text from Besovic, assuring her that she would be a regular in the lineup sooner rather than later. That was all it took for Cortes to settle in.

her final via a close final-set tiebreaker.

Cortes ended up as the 219th-ranked junior by the ITF, and decided to go to college to continue improving and gain experience. When she learned about UH after the team showed interest, it was no doubt where she wanted to be.

“We started to research the university, and it was everything that I wanted,” Cortes said. “This is my dream school.”

After some on-again-off-again communication, Cortes received a scholarship offer from Besovic and the rest was history.

“The difference with her was that she was so committed, and she really wanted it,” Besovic said. “She has a very good energy in her, and I remember she really, really wanted to come to Houston.”

“It was like the best day of my life,” Cortes said. “I was like ‘if everything in the world goes down right now, I’m like the happiest person.’”

When Cortes joined in the fall of 2022, she was pleasantly surprised to see the team welcome her with such open arms. It did not take long for her to fit in with a squad full of players from all over the world.

“I don’t know how the girls get along so well,” Cortes said.

“Having that environment makes you want to come every day with happiness. It helps you on the court.”

“Everyone is from different countries, so we really

“One important thing is to have trust in you,” Cortes said. “I felt that I could be myself playing on the court, and along the way the results came with me.”

Even though Cortes has flourished on and off the court in her first year at Houston, she says none of it could happen without the support of her mother, whom she calls everyday. If Cortes had any problems, questions, or worries, Cortes’ mother has been there, eager to help her daughter thousands of miles away.

“I couldn’t imagine if I didn’t have my mom to call,” Cortes said. “If I didn’t have that little help I would go crazy.”

With her mother’s support, and the confidence from her coaches and peers, Cortes found her groove.

At this point, Pedemonti said it seems like she is already a veteran.

“I’ve been through what she’s going through, but I think she adapted so much better than me,” Pedemonti said. “It’s like she’s been here for four years.”

With the American Conference Championships starting April 19, Cortes’ maturity and competitive fire will become a huge factor, not just for her, but for her team as well.

“She’s very loud, expressive, in a positive way,” Besovic said. “Which helps her on the court but also helps her teammates to bring that energy.”

Gabriela Cortes has flourished in her first year at UH, going 10-2 in singles play. | Courtesy of UH athletics Gabriels Cortes’ life has revolved around tennis, as her father runs a tennis club in her hometown of Cochabamba, Bolivia. | Courtesy of Joe Buvid/UH athletics

Disability rights movement, activism is for everyone

Disability is commonly thought to be defined by its physical aspects and how ablebodied someone is.

However, disability encompasses a wider scope of social, political and cultural factors that are evolving and difficult to capture in a single sentence. Because of this, the view society has on disability needs to be redefined to reflect the actual experiences of disabled people and the issues they face, as well as involve people outside of the community to fight for disability rights.

Currently, disability is seen by some as a bad word that people are scared to approach. Susan Wendell makes an important point in “The Rejected Body” when she talks about how the definition of disability is not created to “include” people but to “exclude” them.

People do not want to be disabled.

Their understanding of disability focuses on the negative connotations that come with identifying as disabled that include ableist

language, inaccessible buildings and the never-ending fight for fair treatment in the workplace and medical field.

People fear the word because they know they will not be treated with respect and dignity.

Wouldn’t this realization force people to fight for disability rights? Once they realize that groups of people are ostracized from society, wouldn’t they want to figure out ways to deconstruct and end this misconception and discrimination?

Sadly, the battle for disability rights is still confined to those in the disabled community.

Curb cuts, which are an important aspect of universal design, were notably advocated for by Ed Roberts, a prominent activist in the disability rights movement. Because of him and other activists, disabled people were able to live their lives more independently, a sentiment that was unheard of and dismissed in the 1970s.

Another example of the battle for disability rights confined to its own bubble is Simi Linton’s experience from her book “My Body Politics.” Throughout the book, her desire for love and intimacy is challenged by a myth

enabled by doctors that said disabled people were unable to love and could not be loved.

The lack of information regarding disabled people’s sexuality and pleasure prompted her to set out to find her own answers on how the disabled community can seek intimacy in their own ways. This advocacy on her end only furthers the idea that it’s disabled people who have to seek out their own answers or else no progress would be made.

Finally, a more notable and powerful form of activism from the disability rights movement is the Capitol Crawl where over a thousand people, many with various forms of disability, climbed the steps of the Capital to showcase the physical, social and political barriers the disabled community faced during that time and to fight for Congress to pass the Americans with Disabilities Act.

With that in mind, if you were to ask someone to recount a prominent moment of the disability rights movement or why it is important to support it, it is unlikely that someone will be able to tell you an informed, thoughtful answer.

Many people are removed

from the disability rights movement even though it is something that directly affects them whether they know it or not. People are just taught to push it aside which leaves them no room to draw connections.

If able-bodied people were to take a moment to look at the issues the disability community faces, they will see a battle against time.

Chrononormativity and crip time are two terms used to describe the way time is used in society. Crip time highlights how disabled people use time differently than ablebodied people because their body demands a different regime and accommodations.

Chrononormativity is how society expects a person to follow a certain timeline of achievements and expectations that, quite frankly, do not fit everyone.

The disability rights movement aims to reconstruct these strict boundaries of time and allow individuals to create their own timeline that prioritizes their needs, wants and desires. Whether this is allowing yourself to take more sick days or deciding to not get married and have kids, these

decisions impact the happiness and fulfillment you feel in your life.

Regardless, even if the disability rights movement did not impact your life or you do not see the connection in your own life, the one thing we all share in this world is the lived human experience.

Simi Linton stated in her book, even if disabled people have their own experiences navigating the world, they all share “the vantage point of the atypical” of living in a world built for the non-disabled.

Disability is part of that lived human experience that we all share and disabled people should not be excluded from living a fruitful and engaging life.

If anything, people should be enraged at the discrimination and injustice the disabled community has faced because, in the end, they’re our community as well.

As people, a community of individuals striving to lead better and happier lives, we need to support one another and not leave a single person behind.

It’s our life goal.

Jose Gonzalez-Campelo/The Cougar

The Cougar enters a new era with incoming editor in chief

i The Cougar


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After serving as the editor in chief for the past two years, it’s hard to believe this is my last print edition leading The Cougar. I joined The Cougar the summer before my freshman year and have loved working in a variety of positions throughout the past four years.

It’s been an honor to lead this publication for two years and I am extremely grateful for all our staff ’s hard work that is the soul of our organization. As a 100 percent student-run publication, none of this would be possible without our editorial board, staff writers, photographers and graphic designers. I feel so lucky to have had the privilege of working with such talented individuals.

Our team has been able to increase digital viewership as well as preserve the tradition of print. Creating the physical paper has been one of my favorite parts of the role, and I’ve especially enjoyed adding more character to the

product through the additions of horoscopes and our advice column.

When I initially wrote my letter as I transitioned into the editor in chief position, I identified my two goals as keeping the UH community informed about relevant campus news as well as creating a safe learning environment for students to start their careers in journalism. These are still values that I find incredibly important, and I have the utmost confidence in John Lomax, the incoming editor in chief, as he continues the legacy of The Cougar.

I can’t imagine what college would be like without The Cougar, and I will cherish the experience for many years to come.

I’ve met some of my closest friends at this paper, and I can’t wait to see their careers flourish in the industry. Thanks y’all for reading. It’s been real.

It’s difficult to describe the emotions I’m feeling right now. On the one hand, I am honored to have been given the opportunity to serve as The Cougar’s leader over the next year. On the other, I have suddenly become acutely aware of the size 10 and a half New Balances on my feet.

Put simply, the shoes I’m stepping into are enormous.

The departing members of this year’s editorial board have steered the organization through some of the most challenging times in recent history, particularly for journalists.

Reporters across the country are struggling to uphold their commitment to the public amid division, disaster and increasing disdain toward the profession.

Yet here, in a city not known for its journalists, at a school that cares more about teaching students how to spin the truth

than tell it, The Cougar’s staff has endured.

Their legacy serves as a testament to the timeless nature of journalism.

The truth, ultimately, endures.  I cannot promise to be everything my predecessors were, but I can promise to do everything in my ability to ensure this organization pursues the truth, no matter how well hidden it may be.

While the University may struggle to keep campus lit, The Cougar will happily assist by shining a light on any dark corners it finds.

I look forward to serving the student body over the next year, and I look forward to the bright futures that I’m sure are in store for those we are saying farewell to.

You will be dearly missed.


Donna Keeya Jhair Romero

COVER Jose Gonzalez-Campelo

iCenter for Student Media


The Center for Student Media provides comprehensive advisory and financial support to the university’s student-run media: The Cougar newspaper, CoogTV and COOG Radio.

Good fortune awaits.

Recognizing an opportunity, taking your time and making an effort will be worthwhile. Refuse to let the little things get to you. Assess your situation to remain on track, then turn your hard work into something you are proud to present to the world. Personal growth and taking better care of your health and finances are recommended. Commitment is favored.

ARIES (March 21-April 19)

-- Stand your ground, make your intentions clear and do what feels right. Don’t overload your to-do list with favors for others when you must look out for yourself.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20)

-- Emotions will be difficult to control when dealing with friends, relatives or colleagues. Choose your words wisely; sending a mixed message will only confuse

matters further. Self-improvement will offer better results than trying to change others.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20)

-- You’ll experience problems expressing your feelings and dealing with sensitive issues at work. Keep busy, and don’t share personal information. Take better care of your health.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) -Don’t take anything for granted; if you want something done, do it yourself. You’ll be in emotional overdrive when helping others or engaging in joint ventures. Don’t promise or take on too much.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) -- Your actions have more clout than your words. Take the initiative, set goals, test your plans and don’t share your ideas with others until you have everything in place. Ignore demanding individuals.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22)

-- Adjust what’s necessary but stick to your plans. Trying to accommodate others will leave you feeling tired and limit what you can do. If you call on reliable people, you’ll meet your deadline.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) -Experience will help hone your skills. Test how good you are, but don’t expect to be perfect. Patience will be key. Mastering the art of something that makes you happy is the richest reward.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) -Make up your mind; if you take too much time to ponder over what you are doing, you’ll overthink the process. Learn all you can and meet with people who have something to contribute.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) -- Have some fun, expand your interests and meet new people. Don’t feel the need to be overly generous. Let your charm

lead the way. Put more thought into investments, contracts and deadlines.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19)

-- Listen to requests, but don’t buy into something just to impress someone. An interest in someone quite different from yourself will lead to mixed results. Learn what you can and move on.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) -- A levelheaded approach to money, work and relationships will spare you from getting involved in a messy situation. Concentrate on feeling good about yourself.

PISCES (Feb. 20-March 20)

-- Focus on health. Join a fitness group, improve your eating habits or update your look. Dress for success. Don’t let a troubled relationship bring you down; deal with it and walk away.

Part of the Student Life portfolio in the Division of Student Affairs, the CSM is concerned with the development of students, focusing on critical thinking, leadership, ethics, collaboration, intercultural competence, goal-setting and ultimately, degree attainment. While our students are engaged in producing and promoting media channels and content, our goal is to ensure they are learning to become better thinkers and leaders in the process.


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Donna Keeya, outgoing editor in chief. | Anh Le/The Cougar John Lomax, incoming editor in chief. | Anh Le/The Cougar

Longtime Cougar staffers bid farewell

James Mueller, Fall 2019 to Spring 2023

experience that has benefited my time at UH in so many ways.

I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to be part of such a dynamic and vibrant community of writers, journalists, and editors, who are all committed to excellence in journalism.

I didn’t know much about The Cougar before our fearless editor in chief, Donna Keeya, invited me to apply for the position as web editor.

I wrote my first byline on the women’s soccer team. Since then, my writing has come so far, but so have I as a person.

The Cougar provided me with a second home, one far away from the one that I left back in El Paso when I moved for college.

useful skills and the most understanding during my experience and I know will go on and do great things. Love y’all!

I wish I would’ve joined sooner than I did, but even then I am still so fulfilled being a part of The Cougar.

The Cougar’s editor in chief near the beginning of the pandemic, I gladly accepted the opportunity to lead the newspaper that had already given me so much.

It’s been an incredible ride. Joining The Cougar as a freshman was one of the best decisions I made during my time at UH.

It allowed me to meet some cool people who I now call friends and gave me real world experience as a journalist that you can’t learn in a classroom. Serving as the sports editor for the past two years has been a true honor and privilege.

I can’t quantify how much getting to go behind the scenes and interact with UH coaches and student-athletes on a daily basis helped me grow as a journalist.

I’m proud of the stories I wrote and appreciate everyone who took the time to read them. From traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio for the 2021 AAC football championship game to following the Cougars across the country during their 2022 and 2023 NCAA Tournament runs, some of my best memories at UH are a result of my decision to join The Cougar.

While it’s difficult to come to terms with my time at The Cougar, which has meant so much to me, coming to an end, I think the best way to summarize my emotions as I close this chapter of my life come from a Garth Brooks lyric: “I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance.”

My dance at The Cougar was something special and an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything else.

Denise Miller, Fall 2022 to Spring 2023

One of the things that I loved most about working here was the sense of collaboration that engulfs the entire CSM newsroom.

Everyone is passionate about their work and eager to learn from each other, which creates a supportive and inspiring environment that fosters growth and creativity.

I am also grateful for the skills and knowledge that I have gained through my Dear Denise column. I have improved my writing skills and gained a deeper understanding of newsroom protocols.

To the position that has taken me further than any other, I am immensely grateful and I’m so excited to watch how The Cougar will grow and produce the best journalists in Texas.

Overall, this has been an incredible journey that I will always cherish and be grateful for.

Armando Yanez, Fall 2019 to Spring 2023

For that, I am forever grateful. I learned many lessons, met so many people, and made memories that will stick with me for the rest of my life.

In the end, there’s not much more I could have asked for. From my first story to my last, it was an honor to have contributed a piece of my life to The Cougar.

Lisa El-Amin, Fall 2021 to Spring 2023

Jhair Romero, Fall 2018 to Spring 2023

We changed rapidly during the pandemic, and I am so proud of how we adapted and even strived in the face of such adversity.

The Cougar grew a lot in that time, and our campus presence and readership today is much bigger than when I first started here.

My time at The Cougar is most definitely one of the best and most unique experiences that I have ever had.

Having joined during the summer prior to my freshman year, I truly never could have imagined what it would be like and how much it would contribute to who I am today.

It never fails to surprise me when I think that I spent all four years of my college career here at The Cougar.

Every person, story and experience that I have come across here has been influential in some way, shape, or form in my life.

It feels like yesterday when

I am filled with many emotions writing this goodbye. The anticipation that I’m on to a new chapter of life but the realization that I’m saying farewell to my college experience that has molded me into the person I am today is bittersweet.

I cannot thank The Cougar enough for believing in me when I had the most doubt in myself. Journalism is a big part of my life and I love the ups and downs of the field.

I’m grateful for my time at The Cougar because it has given me an opportunity to learn so much about the career I want to go into. The experiences are also unmatched in the best way. It’s given me the opportunity to interview and report on notable people like politicians and celebs, travel to the Big Apple and hear stories from people I look up to in journalism, gain irreplaceable friendships and memories and pushed me to continuously work hard.

Being here has given me more confidence in myself to step out of my comfort zone as a writer outside the office and support others as an editor.

I can’t write this without also thanking my bosses and everyone I have worked with on the ed board for being the biggest help, teaching me

I’m only 21, but walking through our office makes me feel so old.

When I first joined The Cougar in the summer of 2018, a lifetime ago it feels like, I was by far the organization’s youngest member. Now, I’m its longesttenured staffer.

My heart is filled with a lot of joy — and nostalgia — seeing a new generation of student journalists dedicate themselves to this newspaper and its mission of keeping our community informed as well as holding those in power at UH to account.

I can’t wait to see how they uphold The Cougar’s values, its legacy and the countless traditions that made my time here so meaningful.

My Cougar career started off in the sports section as a lowly staff writer. I still remember the feeling of awe the first time I saw my byline printed in the newspaper.

That feeling pushed me to get more involved, and I eventually became the sports editor my sophomore year.

It was really such a beautiful time in my life.

I met such amazing people, many of whom I still consider my greatest friends. I also was given the opportunity to travel and cover topics that many only dream of.

Who can say they got to cover a Division I football team for an entire season when they were 18?

Or have the chance to cover one of the best men’s basketball teams in the country?

I can, and it was only because the people within this organization believed I could.

So when I was chosen to be

It was still so difficult trying to navigate our world during that time, especially when all of us were kept apart for so long, but my peers here at The Cougar were the best support system. We have done a lot of good work together over the years, but even outside of our jobs here, we always looked out for each other.

It was always so comforting because we were all just young college kids trying to make it through school even as the world was turned on its head.

I’m reminded of our coverage of the freeze in February 2021. Some of us had lost power and water, but our staff stepped up so that we could continue to do our job. We also made sure we were all safe.

Nothing could get in the way of us, not even a pandemic, floods or a historic winter storm.

I’ve also gotten to see a lot of my friends grow so much both within this organization and when they left.

Many of the people who have come through here have gone on to do great things, and I am confident that this outgoing group will follow in their footsteps.

I’d like to think that I’ve grown quite a bit myself as well.

The truth is that, both as a journalist and as a person, I wouldn’t be me if it weren’t for my time here.

This newspaper has taught me everything from how to request public information to how to maintain valuable and growing friendships.

It’s also pushed me to continue chipping away at my degree, even as outside factors made going to school so incredibly difficult.

This newspaper has grown to be so dear me, and I’m so sad to be leaving.

But I’m eternally grateful for this place.

I truly owe The Cougar everything.

Working at The Cougar has been a truly rewarding
8 | Wednesday, April 19, 2023
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